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It's sure been a long time since Sharp shipped a smartphone to American consumers. And, let's be honest with ourselves, the FX Plus wasn't exactly taking the market by storm. The Sidekick-esque slider was dated even by 2011 standards. But the company is hoping its AQUOS Crystal will have better fortunes. The (almost) bezel-less device offers high-end looks with decidedly mid-range internals. The 1.2GHz chip inside isn't going to set land-speed records, but it should be enough for most folks. The most important feature, though, is the edge-to-edge 5-inch display. While Sharp's description of it as a "groundbreaking" device might be a little over the top, we must admit it's quite a stunning panel -- especially for being five inches and only 720p.

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The above picture isn't Photoshopped -- what you're seeing really is the HTC One M8 for Windows (Phone), and it's available today as a Verizon exclusive. Thanks to Microsoft's latest update, it's now possible for manufacturers to slap the third-place smartphone OS onto existing hardware (replacing Android), and HTC is the first mainstream phone maker to take advantage of the opportunity. Spoiler alert: The hardware of the Windows Phone-equipped One M8 is completely identical to that of the Android version launched earlier this year, aside from gratuitous Verizon and Microsoft logos. What makes this new variant so special is on the software side.

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HTC has its metallic-hewn, well-received One smartphone series. Oh, and its cheaper Desire collection, which has also hit a creative groove of late. But then there's the company's Butterfly phones: high-spec Android devices that rarely make it out of Asia. (We say rarely because one snuck into the US under Verizon: remember the Droid DNA?) Now, in Tokyo, HTC has announced the Butterfly 2 -- the practically-identical, globetrotting version of Japan's HTC J. The company hasn't confirmed whether the model will leave Asia, but it could be a real shame this time around, because going on our early impressions, the Buttterfly 2 could well be better than the HTC One M8. Yeah, we said it.

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HTC's days of acting like a wallflower at the school dance are over -- the company's ready to explore its social side. Its first attempt is to turn Zoe, one of its most creative software features, into a social network that not only lets you share photos and videos with your friends, but allows them to pitch in and edit them as well. Known simply as the Zoe app, the new program launches in open beta today and will be available on several Samsung, LG and other Google devices. Finally, HTC is looking outside of its own user base and reaching out to those who may never have touched any of its products before.

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New England Patriots v Carolina Panthers

It's been roughly six months since the National Football League announced NFL Now, a digital network designed from the ground up to, hopefully, fit the needs of fans on the internet. Today, the video service is finally scheduled to launch, just in time for the ongoing preseason and, soon, the start of the regular season. At first glance, it's easy to see that NFL Now has a lot of great attributes, but some that quickly stand out are its worldwide availability and the fact it doesn't require any sort of authentication, pay-TV and the like, in exchange for content access. Better yet, it will be available in a vast number of platforms and services from day one, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Roku, Yahoo Screen, Yahoo Sports and on the NFL Now website. That's not all, however, since the NFL's new service is expected to come to Xbox One, Kindle Fire and Fire TV soon, with the Apple TV reportedly in the same boat as those devices.

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Before Google dominated search, Ask Jeeves depended on a team of humans -- yes, humans -- to answer your internet queries. Ultimately, search algorithms killed the internet's favorite butler, but the idea that humans are worthy competition for the software we create didn't follow him to the grave. Case in point: Ask Ooloo, a digital assistant powered by living, breathing human beings. According to Ooloo's makers, the PPDA (people-powered digital assistant) is staffed with "real people 24/7" ready to offer you quick, localized search results with a personal touch. All you have to do is speak your question, as you would with Google Now, Siri or Cortana, and wait for an answer. We put the iOS app to the test, asking it 'Who invented the Internet?" What it revealed, probably won't shock you.

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4G is now a mainstream technology in the UK, meaning network operators can chase more frugal consumers with low-cost, own-brand handsets. It's unlikely O2 and Three will get involved in this race to the bottom; they simply don't have the experience EE (through its sub-brands Orange and T-Mobile) and Vodafone do in self-made handsets. EE was the first to make a move with the £99 Kestrel, and Vodafone recently launched its rebuttal: a pair of smartphones in the Smart 4 turbo and Smart 4 power. I've already commented on their price tags (£135 and £175, respectively), which are high enough to make you wince considering their competition. And, after spending a little quality time with the higher-end Smart 4 power, I can't say I feel any different.

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Rhapsody International, the parent company of music-streaming services Rhapsody and Napster, has just announced it is now home to two million paid subscribers. That sum may not seem like a lot at first glance, especially when compared to the 10 million figure Spotify revealed back in May, but Rhapsody still sees this as a great accomplishment. Even though it continues to play catch-up to crowd-favorite Spotify, Rhapsody claims this makes it the clear "number two" streaming service in terms of adoption, ahead of others like Rdio, Deezer and Beats Music. The two million premium subscribers to date, which combines accounts from Rhapsody, Rhapsody unRadio and Napster, have been made possible largely by the company's international expansions and partnerships with carriers -- in the US under the Rhapsody brand, Napster everywhere else.

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In January 2013, NVIDIA unveiled its first end-to-end consumer product: NVIDIA Shield. In our review, I wrote, "NVIDIA Shield is a truly strange device" One year later, that statement stands -- only now it applies to NVIDIA's second consumer product as well: the Shield tablet. Okay, okay, Shield Tablet isn't quite as bizarre as the original Shield, but it's a close second.

Shield Tablet dumps the original Shield's 5-inch screen in favor of a bigger 8-inch, 1080p display, swaps the original Tegra 4 in favor of K1 and drops the controller bit entirely. Should you wish to pair a controller with Shield Tablet -- and NVIDIA thinks you should -- the company's making one (it's even got WiFi Direct for lower latency than Bluetooth), but it's totally optional and doesn't come packed in with the tablet. So, what is this thing? Who is it for? And is it any good? Let's find out.

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FC Barcelona v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga

Many are referring to the 2014 World Cup as the best of the modern era -- think: since Korea/Japan in 2002. Was it due to the fact it set an incredible amount of viewing records? Or, perhaps, it has to do with how much social networks made the entire experience that much more enjoyable. After all, who could forget all the great memes and Tumblr accounts? The level of play wasn't bad either, with this year's tournament leaving behind formidable memories of great individual (Guillermo Ochoa against Brazil, Tim Howard against Belgium) and team (Germany's 7-1 thrashing of Brazil) performances. There's a reason why the sport is nicknamed "The Beautiful Game." Thankfully, football doesn't stop here. While we wait for the next World Cup, which Russia will host in 2018, here's how you, the new (or old) fan, can keep up with some of the professional leagues from across the globe.

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As one of the Blocks smartwatch team reminded us today, modularity has played an integral role in modern computing. A desktop PC is only a collection of components, after all, which can swapped out and upgraded based on what you need from that particular machine (a process Razer hopes to simplify with Project Christine). Recently, Google and others have been working out how to bring the same level of customization to the smartphone. With smartwatches and fitness trackers a burgeoning tech category, both in terms of consumer interest and product development, the Blocks team sees no reason why wrist-worn technology can't benefit from being modular, too. It's in the process of creating such a gadget and today we caught up with the team at a London event, hosted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, to talk about its progress and check out an extremely early prototype.

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Android Wear, Google's new platform for wearables, is fascinating stuff. We got to see a lot of it yesterday, but we didn't get to spend a lot of time with the user interface itself because the watches were on retail mode -- a limited version of the firmware. This is no longer a problem, as Samsung demoed its brand new Wear-laden smartwatch, known as the Gear Live, for Engadget. Once you're done checking out our walkthrough of the UI below, we recommend you also take a closer look at our other coverage of Android Wear devices from yesterday. In the meantime, however, head below for a photo gallery and five-minute tour of Google's new platform.

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By releasing a Developer Preview of the next version of Android (only known as "L" for now), Google is walking new ground -- and it's blazing a glorious path that will greatly benefit the platform going forward. Developers and manufacturers will no longer be in the dark for upcoming firmware updates; by making a preview available, Google is giving its valued partners and third-party devs the opportunity to prepare their apps and services for the forthcoming refresh, which is due out sometime this fall.

This may not eliminate fragmentation (in which a vast majority of users are on old -- and different -- versions of Android) entirely, but it should reduce it significantly. Imagine, if you will, the day when Google officially releases the L update; how nice would it be if your six-month-old phone got it that very same day, rather than months later (if at all)? It seems like such a simple concept, yet this is exactly what Android users have put up with for years.

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Meet Google's answer to Apple's CarPlay: Android Auto. It's a new platform announced today at the annual orgy of software and hardware development known as Google I/O, and it puts the (almost) full power of Android in your car. Why almost? Well, despite the fact that the system leverages your smartphone to power your car's infotainment system, you don't get access to all your apps. It has a limited selection of options that are suitable for use on the road and optimized for an in-dash interface, and I got to see several of them in action in an Audi S3.

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Samsung's Gear Live and LG's G Watch have already been manhandled today at Google I/O 2014, and now it's time to do the same to the third inaugural Android Wear device, the Moto 360. We've already heard much about the watch's unique circular design and have gotten some sneak peeks at the various watch faces that are coming to take advantage of it. Today, however, I finally got my mitts on one, and I can assure you it's as well put together in person as the press shots have shown previously.

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